Law Enforcement Seizes Masks Meant To Protect Protesters From COVID-19

Screengrab / @RyanJReilly / Twitter

Sarah Shaiman

The organization spent tens of thousands of dollars producing masks for protestors in cities across the nation.

Law enforcement officials have reportedly seized hundreds of masks that a Black Lives Matter-affiliated group sent to cities across the nation to help protect Americans protesting police brutality, according to a Huffington Post report

  • The masks featured phrases on them like “Black Lives Matter” and “Defund police.”
  • HuffPost reported that the group spent “tens of thousands of dollars on the masks they had planned to send all over the country.”
  • The masks were shipped from Oakland, California, to Washington, St. Louis, New York City, and Minneapolis; however, “U.S. Postal Service tracking numbers for the packages indicate they were ‘Seized by Law Enforcement’ and urge the mailer to ‘contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for further information.’”
  • Rene Quinonez, an Oakland man from Movement Ink told HuffPost that he spent many hours making the masks with his family and that the post office workers knew him and that he shipped apparel. 

Quinonez said, “We’re tired, but we’re going to try to rally some support and figure out how to replace these masks and how to support the movement. This isn’t a weapon. It’s more about safety. We’re trying to figure out how to keep our community safe.”

There is no clear reason why law enforcement seized the masks. However, this comes alongside aggressive action from the Trump Administration to quell protests. Federal law enforcement grew aggressive with protesters on Monday evening to clear Lafayette Square for a presidential photo-op. Additionally, the president has moved to classify “Antifa” as a domestic terrorist organization. It should be noted that Antifa is not an organization but an ideology against fascism. 

A spokesperson for the Movement for Black Lives, a loose conglomerate of organizations and leaders that began after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, said, “Police have rioted coast to coast, beating and gassing protesters who have called for an end to police violence, with the explicit approval of President Trump.”

She added, “Now, it appears they want to ensure that people who protest are susceptible to the same deadly pandemic that they have failed miserably at stopping.”

Read the full report here. 

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